UCLA at the Australian Open: Day 9
TUESDAY, FEB. 16
Ena Shibahara had her time at the Australian Open ended Tuesday in the women's doubles quarterfinal round. The loss ended an 11-match winning streak by Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama to start 2021. Seeded seventh, the pair fell at the hands of No. 2 Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, 6-2, 6-0. Despite the loss, Shibahara and Aoyama continues their success of late despite the loss, as they collected first-place trophies at the Abu Dhabi Open and Yarra Valley Classic this year and advanced to the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros in Oct. 2020.
Jennifer Brady is the last Bruin in action at Melbourne Park and she will look to match her career-best Grand Slam singles performance against fellow American Jessica Pegula. The match, slated for Wednesday in Melbourne, will begin at approximately 6:00 p.m., PT Tuesday in the United States.
— Jennifer Brady (@jennifurbrady95) February 15, 2021
MONDAY, FEB. 15
Jennifer Brady, who just five months ago became the first Bruin woman to reach the singles semifinal round of a Grand Slam at the US Open, will have a chance to do it again in Melbourne. She earned another straight-set win Monday and will meet Jessica Pegula in an all-American quarterfinal-round showdown Wednesday. Mackenzie McDonald, who was trying to reach the same stage on the men's side, had his improbable run stopped by fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia. Ena Shibahara, meanwhile, was eliminated from the mixed doubles, but will have a chance to advance in women's doubles play Tuesday.
No. 22 Brady was matched up against Donna Vekic of Croatia Monday and she set the tone early against the tournament's No. 28 seed. Brady took the first five games of the match before Vekic was finally able to hold serve, but the damage was done and the first set was ultimately finished in just 34 minutes. The second set stayed on serve until 3-3, when Brady turned in her first break of serve. Vekic took the next two games, though, and looked poised to send the match to a third set. Brady would not let that happen, though, as she took the final three games and the match. The win by Brady matched the previous Bruin-best showing in the tournament by Kimberly Po in 1997. Next up for Brady is a date with unseeded Jessica Pegula, who upset fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in three sets Monday.
McDonald trailed 1-5 in his first set against the world No. 4 player, but pushed back to take the next three games before dropping the opener. The third set stayed on serve until 3-3, when Medvedev took control and finished off his 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory. McDonald was one of just two unseeded players remaining in the men's singles draw and the last American.
Shibahara and partner Ben McLachlan gave sixth-seeded pair Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram everything it could handle in the second round, with the match decided by a third-set tiebreaker. Krejcikova/Ram prevailed by a 13-11 score in the first-to-10 format and won the match by a 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(11) score. The No. 7 women's pair of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama will be looking for the upset against No. 2 Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka Tuesday (approximately 7 p.m., PT), with a spot in the semifinals on the line.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 15, 2021
Gotta love some @UCLA pride. 💙@mackiemacster and @jennifurbrady95 talk having two former Bruins in the Rd. of 16.
Both Americans play in their fourth round matches tonight. @uclatennis @uclawtennis #GoBruins #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/gtT6x7On3x
— TENNIS (@Tennis) February 15, 2021
SUNDAY, FEB. 14
One day after her 23rd birthday, Shibahara celebrated a trip to the Australian Open doubles quarterfinals alongside partner Shuko Aoyama. The seventh-seeded pair took down the No. 12 tandem of former college players Hayley Carter (North Carolina) and Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine), 6-2, 6-4. Carter/Stefani earned a break of serve to start the match, but Shibahara/Aoyama answered by taking six of the next seven games. Shibahara/Aoyama jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set and cruised to victory. They will next meet second-seeded Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka in the round of eight.
Monday in Melbourne will see Jennifer Brady and Mackenzie McDonald try to earn spots in the singles quarterfinal rounds. No. 22 seed Brady is set to take on No. 28 Donna Vekic of Croatia in Rod Laver Arena at approximately 5:15 p.m., PT. McDonald has a date with No. 4 Daniil Medvedev of Russia in Margaret Court Arena at approximately 5:30 p.m. Shibahara and partner Ben McLachlan will also be in action, as the mixed doubles combination is slated to take on sixth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram.
— UCLA Women's Tennis (@uclawtennis) February 14, 2021
— UCLA Men's Tennis (@uclatennis) February 13, 2021
SATURDAY, FEB. 13
Jennifer Brady and Mackenzie McDonald continued their impressive runs Saturday at the Australian Open, giving UCLA a representative in each of the singles fourth rounds. Brady's run matches her finest showing in the tournament, while McDonald's equals his best in any Grand Slam.
Brady breezed through her first set with qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia. A break of serve gave Brady the upper hand in the second, though Juvan was able to get back on serve soon after. Brady subsequently broke again and once more to close out the 6-1, 6-3 win. She will next face 28th-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia.
McDonald, the last American standing in the men's singles draw, alternated early first-set breaks with Lloyd Harris of Slovenia en route to a tiebreaker. Harris led 7-6 there, but McDonald closed by taking the final three points and the set. The second set was all McDonald, putting him a set away from victory. A pivotal break at 4-4 in the third set gave McDonald the opening he needed, as he closed out the match, 7-6(7), 6-1, 6-4, to match his 2018 Wimbledon performance. Next up for him is a showdown with No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
No. 7 Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama will get action underway Sunday, when they meet frequent foes, former collegians and No. 12 seed Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani in third-round doubles play. First serve is set for 4 p.m., PT.
— wta (@WTA) February 13, 2021
FRIDAY, FEB. 12
Ena Shibahara advanced to the women's doubles third round and picked up her first Grand Slam mixed doubles win on Day 5 of the Australian Open. Mackenzie McDonald was felled is his second-round doubles match, while Jennifer Brady pulled out in advance of hers.
The seventh-seeded combination of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama was on the verge of an upset loss to wild card Lizette Cabrera/Maddison Inglis, dropping the first set before going into a second-set tiebreaker. Cabrera/Inglis even took four of the first five points in the tiebreaker, but Shibahara/Aoyama rebounded convincingly with six of the next seven and all six games of the final set. The 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-0 victory set up a date in the final 16 with frequent foes Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani, who are seeded 12th.
Shibahara and Ben McLachlan jumped out to a 4-1 first-set lead in their mixed doubles debut before German tandem Kevin Krawietz and Laura Siegemund forced a tiebreaker. Shibahara/McLachlan went on to take control there and in the second set for a 7-6(3), 6-4 win.
Pitted against second-seeded Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, McDonald and partner Tommy Paul established their footing in the second set, but were unable to force a third. Mektic/Pavic came out on top of a 6-1, 6-4 decision. McDonald still has a lot to play for in Melbourne, as a third-round singles meeting with Lloyd Harris of South Africa is set for Day 6.
Brady and partner Ashleigh Barty gave second-seeded Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka a walkover. Both Brady, who will meet qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in the third round, and Barty are still alive in the singles draw.
— wta (@WTA) February 12, 2021
THURSDAY, FEB. 11
Jennifer Brady and Mackenzie McDonald earned wins for the third consecutive day, advancing to the singles third round at the Australian Open. They will try to reach the same stage of the doubles draw today.
McDonald, who was previously eliminated in the tournament's second round on two occasions, broke through with one of the finest wins of his professional career. Playing against 22nd-seeded and world No. 25 Borna Coric of Croatia, McDonald earned the first set's only break of serve at 2-2 to set the tone for the match. Coric was broken twice more to start the second set, though he briefly made his presence felt in the third. In the end, McDonald proved too strong with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory to set up a third-round date with another top-100 opponent in Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
Beating her first-round time, No. 22 Brady needed just 52 minutes to take down fellow American Madison Brengle by a 6-1, 6-2 score. Brady took the first five games of the match and never looked back. She will next meet qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in the third round.
Both Brady and McDonald are set to play their next doubles matches Thursday, as is Ena Shibahara. Brady and partner Ashleigh Barty will meet second-seeded Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, while McDonald and Tommy Paul will take on the men's No. 2 seed, Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic. The seventh-seeded pair of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama are set to face off against the wild-card duo of Lizette Cabrera and Maddison Inglis.
Smile + fist pump = win 😃💪
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 11, 2021
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10
As doubles action began, three Bruins were victorious for the second day in a row at the Australian Open. Jennifer Brady and Mackenzie McDonald triumphed again and Ena Shibahara continued her 2021 unbeaten streak in her first appearance. Maxime Cressy fell in the singles second round to the No. 7 seed, while Marcos Giron dropped his doubles match against the No. 6 pair.
Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama, seeded seventh, had to fight back from a lost first set against the American tandem of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula. The Abu Dhabi Open and Yarra Valley Classic champions did just that, though, securing a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win and running their record to 10-0 on the year.
Brady and No. 1 singles seed Ashleigh Barty, meanwhile, teamed up for the first time in a Grand Slam and cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over wild card Abbie Myers/Ivana Popovic of Australia. Brady/Barty is next slated to face No.-2 seed Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka.
On the men's side, McDonald and Taylor Fritz are also tackling their first Grand Slam as a duo. They needed three sets against wild card Petros Tsitsipas/Stefanos Tsitsipas, but prevailed by a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 margin to set up a date with second-seeded Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic.
Giron and Cameron Norrie gave Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares all they could handle, but was edged out in a first-set tiebreaker en route to a 7-6(6), 6-3 loss.
Qualifier Cressy gave No. 6 Alexander Zverev his best shot, but the German defeated his second Bruin in as many days. One day after eliminating Giron, Zverev did the same to Cressy, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.
Day 4 will see Brady and McDonald back at it in singles play. No. 22 Brady will meet fellow American Madison Brengle in 1573 Arena, while McDonald is tasked with taking down No. 22 Borna Coric of Croatia.
Smile + fist pump = win 😃💪
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 11, 2021
MONDAY, FEB. 8 & TUESDAY, FEB. 9
Three former UCLA tennis standouts earned wins on Days 1 and 2 of the Australian Open in Melbourne, kicking off the first Grand Slam of the calendar year. Former men's student-athletes Maxime Cressy and Mackenzie McDonald were victorious in singles play, as was Jennifer Brady on the women's side. Marcos Giron dropped his first-round match in the men's draw.
Tasked with taking down No. 6 seed and world No. 7 Alexander Zverev of Germany, GIron won a first-set tiebreaker in Margaret Court Arena. Zverev returned the favor in a second-set tiebreaker and controlled the match the rest of the way for a 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2 decision, nixing Giron's hopes of an upset. Giron is not done in Melbourne, though, as he is set to team with Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the doubles draw.
Cressy, who qualified for the main draw in January, also started his match against No. 117 Taro Daniel of Japan with two tiebreakers. Cressy was victorious in each of them, putting him well on his way to his second singles win in a Grand Slam. He finished the job in straight sets, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4, on Court 15. Cressy will get a shot at Zverev in the second round.
McDonald got Day 2 underway on Court 6, where he dropped his first set to No. 79 Marco Cecchinato of Italy before turning the match around. McDonald was dominant the rest of the way, securing a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory for his third-career singles second round appearance at the tournament. No. 22 Borna Coric of Croatia is next up for McDonald.
Brady, seeded 22nd as the world No. 24 player, needed just 59 minutes to take care of Aliona Bolsova of Spain on Court 17. Brady's 6-1, 6-3 win put her halfway to her career-best showing at the tournament, achieved in 2017, and set up an all-American second-round date with Madison Brengle.
Joining Giron in the men's doubles draw is McDonald, who will continue his partnership with fellow American Tommy Paul. Also upcoming are first-round doubles matches for Brady (with Ashleigh Barty of Australia) and the seventh-seeded tandem of Bruin Ena Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama, representing Japan.
How it started: How it's going: pic.twitter.com/dUelWykcgX
— UCLA Men's Tennis (@uclatennis) February 7, 2021